Chapter One describes the historical context of the planning of the evacuation. It considers the changes after the Great War that led to a possible future evacuation being considered, the legal steps for an evacuation to be made mandatory, and Hong Kong’s experience of itself receiving evacuees from Shanghai. It looks at the creation of the evacuation plan in a time of growing unrest in China and growing certainty of European conflict, and considers the differences between Hong Kong’s and other evacuations. It notes the relative naivety and incompleteness of the plan, with its insufficient thought on the impact of location of the chosen final destination, the racial aspects of the population to be evacuated, and contingencies in case of either the Japanese invasion not occurring (and evacuation thus needing to be reversed in an orderly manner), or war starting and ending (necessitating a post-war repatriation). Before exploring the triggers of the final order to evacuate, it establishes the differences in status and attitudes between the military families and civilians (of all nationalities) and the pre-evacuation economic and social positions of those to be evacuated: most having servants, family support, social or military status, secure futures, and dependence upon husbands.
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